Blogging and Broadcasting

It struck me just now as I posted yet another report that doing a blog reminds me of being on the radio.  Both send information into a kind of virtual reality where it can be picked up by just about anyone motivated to pay attention for a brief spell.

When I returned to the States after spending 1976-1978 in Japan, I traveled west (via Hong Kong, Thailand, Burma, India, Nepal, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, and England, followed by arrival in Boston {where sister Anna and husband Paul were based}, a long ride to Chicago with a Harvard student returning home for spring break, then hitchhiking from Chicago to Kansas City and from there to Little River).  Going east from Japan to the U.S. would have been, the short route.  But after everything that had happened in Japan during those two and a half years–including a first trip to India in the winter of 1977–I couldn’t stand the idea of being back in Kansas so quickly and without some interim adventures.  Ten months later, I was saturated with experiences, chastened and humbled by many of them, and was ready for the heartland again in the spring of 1979.

While working on the family farm and helping out at the local bank started by my grandfather, I somehow landed a gig as a once-a-week announcer for a new, Hutchinson, Kansas-based affiliate of National Public Radio.  Thanks to my pal and mentor at the Univ. of Kansas, Fred Goss, and friends Bill Kats, Dave Hofstra, and Howard Klink, I had learned some of the basics about jazz and wanted to share some of that knowledge via the KHCC station.  

It was great fun but slightly eerie as well, that all the music, commentary, and announcements were going into this vast expanse of emptiness.  I remember entire evenings going by with not a single listener calling in to request, complain, or otherwise comment on some of the music.  

Blogging feels that way as well, but with an important difference.  I have no illusions that I’m providing any kind of public service, or that these reports fulfill any purpose other than a personal one to document, archive, remember, ponder, and otherwise make sense of a vast array of experiences.  After the dust settles and the “transmitter” undergoes an upgrade, I may see if there would be any editorial interest in publishing a version of this blog.  In my radio days, had there been technology to burn CDs easily (the medium became available commercially in 1982) I would love to have some “archives” of several evenings that highlighted the saxophone, trumpet, or piano.  I remember thinking as I left the station after midnight, “maybe someone’s life was changed tonight by the music they heard.”  I certainly don’t think that about this blog, and yet, who knows if a story, photo, or event sparks an interest in someone to travel and see for themselves a part of the planet they might otherwise never encounter.

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